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San Francisco's Median Home Prices Shatter Previous Record—Which Was Set Last Month

Median price: $1.22 million. Ugh. 


Tracking real estate prices in the Bay Area right now is like writing about baseball’s single-season home run record back in the Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, and Barry Bonds days. Everybody is juicing. The median price of a home in San Francisco last month shattered all previous records, hitting $1.22 million. That’s frighteningly high and—worse—the previous record was in March.

The most recent numbers, which came from real estate group Paragon and were reported by CurbedSF, tell a familiar story. Thanks to limited supply and bountiful demand, the market for housing is climbing ever higher. In Pacific and Presidio Heights, the median sales price was just under $6 million. In Sea Cliff, that figure was $3 million. Some neighborhoods lagged behind the citywide median. The median home for sale in the Bayview commanded $610,000, the lowest figure in the city. Just above that, homes in the Excelsior had a median of $782,500. Condo prices also rose to new highs: The median in Cow Hollow reached $1.6 million, the Marina saw $1.4 million, and Nob Hill $1.3 million. (Civic Center, the Inner Richmond, and SoMa remained the most affordable neighborhoods in which to buy a condo.) Home prices in San Francisco have effectively doubled between January 2012 and today. Not counting for inflation, the median price of a home then was $615,00.

Similar jumps were seen in median rents as well. San Francisco renters pay a median of $3,458 per month—the highest in the nation's 25 largest real estate markets. The rest of the Bay Area pays less per month in rent, but in each of the local regions, median rents exceeded the median for the United States as a whole.

Those numbers have taken a toll on buyers—and potential buyers. The Housing Affordability Index, which tracks the percent of households that can purchase a median-priced home, dropped to 14-15% for San Francisco, Marin, and San Mateo. When the market peaked in 2007, that figure was closer to 10%, after which it jumped into the 30s following the crash. Data going back to the early '90s indicates that we’re currently in a historic low—but it doesn’t mean that we’re due for a course change any time soon.

In somewhat cheerier news, a full 3,454 new units of housing were constructed in 2014 San Francisco. That’s the highest number reported since 1995. (The previous high was in 2009). But it's almost certainly not enough new housing to force prices to taper off. San Francisco has added something like 75,000 new residents in the last 15 years, while according to Paragon's report, the city has only added around 28,000 new housing units. That's not enough for prices to stabilize. 

Till it does, it’s just Barry Bonds making splash hits between now and forever. And we all enjoyed that back in the day, right?



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